News

$5.1 Million Mellon Grant for Pathways to the Professoriate

  • February 9, 2016
  • vol 62 issue 22
  • News
  • print

caption:The University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of Education’s (GSE) Center for Minority Serving Institutions (MSIs) is launching an unprecedented program to increase the number of Latino professors working in the humanities at US colleges and universities.

Pathways to the Professoriate, supported by a $5.1 million grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, will prepare 90 students from Hispanic Serving Institutions (HSIs) for PhD programs over a five-year period.

This program comes as colleges and universities across the United States are trying, and often struggling, to develop a faculty that reflects the nation’s growing ethnic and cultural diversity. The scarcity of Latino professors is especially stark, as Latinos make up only 4.1 percent of the professoriate in the United States but 20 percent of the population aged 18-44.

“This is not a problem that can be fixed overnight,” said Marybeth Gasman, director of the Center for MSIs and professor of education at GSE. “We see this program as a way to begin a fundamental change. We hope this creates a strong pathway to graduate school for Latino students that will grow over time, with these students supporting one another, and one day becoming mentors themselves.”

“As the demographic profile of the US changes, the country has a compelling interest in obtaining the full participation of previously underrepresented communities,” said Mariët Westermann, vice president at the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. “The past decade has seen considerable gains in doctoral degree attainment for Latinos, yet these gains have not kept up with the growth of the US Hispanic population. We have every confidence that this program will build on the successful pipeline programs piloted by the Penn Center for Minority Serving Institutions at Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs).”

During the five-year program, the Center for MSIs will partner with three HSIs—Florida International University; the University of Texas at El Paso and California State University, Northridge—and five majority research institutions—New York University; University of California, Berkeley; University of Pennsylvania (Penn); Northwestern University and University of California, Davis.

Selected HSI undergraduate students will take part in intensive summer research programs and cross-institutional conferences, while also receiving mentoring and support for applying to and enrolling in graduate school.

It will take years for these scholars to move into the professoriate, and many will be hired at schools other than the five participating research institutions. Still, UC Davis Provost Ralph Hexter believes his campus will benefit from the partnership immediately.

“We’ve been making slow progress on our own stated need—to have a diversified faculty that reflects our student body, to have research conducted by as diverse a group as possible— but we need to accelerate that progress,” Provost Hexter said. “Having our faculty work with scholars from a broad array of institutions can change how hiring decisions are made.

“There is tremendous talent in so many places,” Provost Hexter said. “We need to enhance our ability to recognize and appreciate it.”

Florida International University (FIU) is 64 percent Latino, and every country in Latin America and the Caribbean is represented in the school’s student body. “We feel like we represent the future of what academia could look like,” said Elizabeth Bejar, FIU’s vice president for Academic Affairs. Currently, FIU does not have a PhD program in many humanities subjects.

“We know we have students here who have the quality and caliber to be PhD students at nationally renowned research institutions,” Dr. Bejar said. “Pathways to the Professoriate will give these students needed support to make sure that can happen.”

Throughout the grant, the Penn Center for MSIs will be conducting assessments of how selected students are progressing. In doing so, Dr. Gasman hopes to “find the leaks in the pipeline”—the challenges that are most likely to halt a Latino scholar’s path to a PhD.

The Penn Center for Minority Serving Institutions brings together researchers and practitioners from HBCUs, Tribal Colleges and Universities, Hispanic Serving Institutions, and Asian American, Native American and Pacific Islander Serving Institutions. Based at the University of Pennsylvania’s Graduate School of Education, the Center’s goals include elevating the educational contributions of MSIs; ensuring that they are a part of national conversations; bringing awareness to the vital role MSIs play in the nation’s economic development; increasing the rigorous scholarship of MSIs; connecting MSIs’ academic and administrative leadership to promote reform initiatives; and strengthening efforts to close educational achievement gaps among disadvantaged communities. For more information about the Center, visit www2.gse.upenn.edu/cmsi

Founded in 1969, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation endeavors to strengthen, promote and, where necessary, defend the contributions of the humanities and the arts to human flourishing and to the well-being of diverse and democratic societies by supporting exemplary institutions of higher education and culture as they renew and provide access to an invaluable heritage of ambitious, path-breaking work. For more information, visit https://mellon.org 

Lauren Sallan: Early Career Award

  • February 9, 2016
  • vol 62 issue 22
  • News
  • print

caption:Lauren Sallan, assistant professor of earth & environmental science, in Penn’s School of Arts & Sciences was an inaugural recipient of the Stensiö Award, which will be given to researchers in early vertebrate palaeontology. Named after Swedish paleozoologist Erik Stensiö, who died in 1984, the Stensiö Award was proposed and approved at the previous symposium in Dallas, Texas in 2011. It recognizes the research and impact of a scholar within 10 years of receiving a PhD. Dr. Sallan and Sophie Sanchez of the University of Uppsala, Sweden, received the award last summer at the 13th International Symposium on Early and Lower Vertebrates in Melbourne, Australia.

Dr. Sallan’s research looks at how global events, environmental change and ecological interactions affect long-term evolution (macroevolution) in early vertebrates, the ray-finned fishes that make up half of vertebrate diversity, and marine ecosystems through time. She tests her hypotheses using methods ranging from “big data” quantitative approaches and mathematical modeling to studying the fossil record of fishes and reconstructing the pattern of relationships among organisms.

In November, Dr. Sallan and her lab published a paper in Science that described how a mass extinction 359 million years ago known as the Hangenberg event triggered a drastic and lasting transformation of Earth’s vertebrate community. Before the event, large creatures were the norm, but for at least 40 million years afterward, the oceans were dominated by markedly smaller fish. The story was covered by the New York Times, Washington Post, Discovery News, ScienceNow, Daily Mail, Der Spiegel and others. In October her paper showing that the ancient shark Bandringa seems to have lived both in fresh and marine water won the Taylor and Francis Award for Best Paper (second place) in the Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology.

Dr. Sallan earned her PhD from the University of Chicago in 2012, and came to Penn in the fall of 2014 from the University of Michigan, where she had taught ecology and evolutionary biology.

2015 Global Go to Think Tank Index Report

  • February 9, 2016
  • vol 62 issue 22
  • News
  • print

The Brookings Institution tops the list of the 2015 Global Go To Think Tank Index Report, an annual ranking of the world’s top think tanks released by the University of Pennsylvania Think Tanks and Civil Societies Program (TTCSP) at the Lauder Institute. This is the eighth consecutive year that Brookings has been ranked first.

As the premier database and measure of world think tanks, the Index aims to increase the profile, performance and impact of think tanks and to create a transnational and interdisciplinary network of centers of public policy excellence. The report will be translated into more than 20 languages.

Simultaneous 2015 Go To Think Tank Index launch events were held by 107 research organizations across 70 cities in 60 countries. A session in Washington, DC, hosted by the World Bank, featured a discussion on “Why Think Tanks Matter: Helping Make People Centered Public Policy & Development a Priority.” A session at the United Nations Headquarters in New York City focused on arms control, trade, development, sustainable development goals, the environment and COP21.

“Flows of information for rich policy analysis and research today are often disparate and fractured, which leads to a vital need for resources that highlight the best policy research out there,” said James McGann, TTCSP director. “The independent Index is designed to help users of information and policy analysis identify the leading centers of excellence in public policy research around the world.”

Top Think Tanks Worldwide

Brookings Institution (US)

Chatham House (UK)

Carnegie Endowment for International Peace (US)

Center for Strategic and International Studies (US)

Bruegel (Belgium)

Top Defense and National Security Think Tanks

Center for Strategic and International Studies (US)

International Institute for Strategic Studies (UK)

RAND Corporation (US)

Brookings Institution (US)

Chatham House (UK)

Top Foreign Policy and International Affairs Think Tanks

Chatham House (UK)

Brookings Institution (US)

Carnegie Endowment for International Peace (US)

Council on Foreign Relations (US)

Center for Strategic and International Studies (US)

The Go To Index is also being distributed through a network of global partners, giving institutions an opportunity to highlight the crucial role they play in building and maintaining civil society in their countries and regions.

The annual report, compiled with assistance from more than 1,500 peer institutions and experts from the print and electronic media, academia, public and private donor institutions and governments around the world, ranks the top 150 global think tanks across four general categories: the World, Region, Area of Research and Special Achievement.

This year’s report also includes new regional studies categories as well as a category called Think Tank With the Best Practices, Policies and Procedures to Assure the Quality, Independence and Integrity of its Policy Research. There is also a Think Tank Innovation feature, a detailed analysis of innovative practices that think tanks are undertaking to generate new frontiers in policy research and influence.

TTCSP conducts research on the relationship between think tanks, politics and public policy; produces the annual Global Go To Think Tank Index; develops capacity-building resources and programs; supports a global network of almost 7,000 think tanks in 179 countries; and trains future think tank scholars and executives.

Go To Index reports since 2008 are available at http://repository.upenn.edu/think_tanks/

Animal Planet Greenlights Production of Docu-Series Penn Vet

  • February 9, 2016
  • vol 62 issue 22
  • News
  • print

Animal Planet announced it is in production of an all-new series, Penn Vet, which will feature the first ever behind-the-scenes look at the University of Pennsylvania’s highly competitive veterinary school. With unprecedented access, Animal Planet will shadow fourth-year students as they complete this demanding and difficult program while learning from pioneers of veterinary medicine. Penn Vet is set to premiere this year.

“Vet students driven by a mission to heal and protect animals take everything they’ve learned and put it to the test in this series,” said Rich Ross, group president of Discovery Channel, Animal Planet and Science Channel. “Penn Vet will give our viewers a front row seat to this journey.”

Penn Vet will feature students with diverse backgrounds and goals as they handle a wide range of cases, at both Ryan Hospital for companion animals in Philadelphia and at the New Bolton Center hospital for large animals in Kennett Square, Pennsylvania. With the animals’ lives on the line, Penn Vet showcases the rigorous training of veterinary students as they face the day-to-day challenges inherent in this high pressure world.

With more than 30,000 patient visits a year and species ranging from dogs, cats, guinea pigs and iguanas to horses, cows, zebras and goats, the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine is home to two internationally renowned teaching hospitals with some of the largest caseloads in the world. Penn Vet established the first-ever facility for the care of critically injured large animals, the first state-of-the-art minimally invasive surgery suite, the first recovery pool for equine orthopedic surgeries and the world’s first animal bloodmobile.

Penn Vet is produced for Animal Planet by High Noon Entertainment, where Jim Berger, Scott Feeley, Sarah Presta and Michael Call serve as executive producers. For Animal Planet, Dawn Sinsel is executive producer, Krishna San Nicolas is producer and Meredith Russell is associate producer.

SciCheck’s Extended Run

  • February 9, 2016
  • vol 62 issue 22
  • News
  • print

The Annenberg Public Policy Center (APPC) announced that SciCheck will be around to fact-check the science-based claims of politicians throughout the 2016 campaign.

A year ago, with the support of the Stanton Foundation, APPC launched SciCheck to focus exclusively on false and misleading scientific claims made by major political figures. Since then, SciCheck has fact-checked President Obama, heads of federal agencies, congressional leaders and several presidential candidates, among others. It has tackled subjects such as climate change, vaccinations, fetal pain, the California measles outbreak, the Human Genome Project, recreational and medicinal marijuana, fracking and sexual orientation.

In all, the project has produced 36 articles and four videos, and has reached millions of readers—not only on FactCheck.org, but also on the websites of major media outlets, including MSN.com, USA Today and Discover Magazine. Its articles have even been translated and redistributed by Chequeado, a Spanish-language fact-checking website in Argentina.

Now, SciCheck will be entering its second year—thanks to the continued support of the Stanton Foundation.

The foundation was founded by the late Frank Stanton, who was president of CBS for 25 years, from 1946 to 1971. Mr. Stanton was widely recognized as one of television’s top executives in its formative years. The New York Times called Mr. Stanton “a central figure in the development of television broadcasting” and credited him with helping to persuade Congress to suspend the “equal time” provision so that the 1960 presidential debates could be aired on television.

The Stanton Foundation will provide FactCheck.org with $150,000 not only to continue funding SciCheck but also to underwrite the FactCheck.org Fellowship program for undergraduates at the University of Pennsylvania.

The year-round, paid fellowship program has benefited 27 students since it was launched in the summer of 2010. Some of those students are still in school, including those who have gone on to pursue advanced degrees. But half of those who have joined the workforce are using the research and writing skills they learned at FactCheck.org at jobs in the media, government, politics and at nonprofit think tanks.

The Annenberg Public Policy Center also announced that Vanessa Schipani has joined their staff and will lead SciCheck in its second year.

For the past six years, Ms. Schipani has split her time covering a spectrum of scientific subjects as a journalist and analyzing trends in science as a philosopher and historian.

In 2008, Ms. Schipani received a bachelor of science in zoology and a bachelor of arts in philosophy at the University of Florida. She has also nearly completed a master of science in the history and philosophy of science from Utrecht University in the Netherlands.

Over the years, she has freelanced for publications such as BioScience, The American Scholar, EARTH and EuroScientist. Previously, she also interned with the Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology in Japan and The Scientist in New York.

Summary Annual Report for The University Of Pennsylvania Health & Welfare Program

  • February 9, 2016
  • vol 62 issue 22
  • News
  • print

This is a summary of the annual report of The University of Pennsylvania Health & Welfare Program, Plan No. 503, sponsored by The Trustees of the University of Pennsylvania, EIN 23-1352685, for the period that began on July 1, 2014 and ended on June 30, 2015. This annual report has been filed with the Employee Benefits Security Administration, as required under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (“ERISA”). Please note that not all employees are eligible to participate in all of the benefits available under the Plan. Please consult your Plan materials for specific eligibility information.

Medical, Prescription Drug, Dental and Long-Term Disability Benefits

The University of Pennsylvania has committed itself to pay certain medical and prescription drug claims, dental benefits and long-term disability benefits incurred under the terms of the Plan on a self-insured basis. In addition, the Plan has a contract with CIGNA Health and Life Insurance Company to pay certain medical claims incurred under the terms of the contract. The total premiums paid for the plan year ending June 30, 2015 to CIGNA were $90,236. The Plan also has a contract with Standard Insurance Company to pay certain long-term disability benefits incurred under the terms of the contract. The total premiums paid to Standard Insurance Company for the plan year ending June 30, 2015 were $953,653.

Vision Benefits

The Plan has contracts with Davis Vision Plan and Vision Service Plan to pay vision claims incurred under the terms of the contract. The total premiums paid under these contracts for the plan year ending June 30, 2015 to Davis Vision Plan were $695,630 and to Vision Service Plan were $305,914.

Life Insurance Benefits

The Plan has a contract with Aetna Life Insurance Company to pay life insurance, dependent life insurance and accidental death and dismemberment insurance claims incurred under the terms of the contract. The total premiums paid under this contract for the plan year ending June 30, 2015 were $6,928,623.

Long-Term Care Benefits

The Plan has contracts with John Hancock Life Insurance Company and Genworth Life Insurance Company to pay long-term care claims incurred under the terms of the contracts. The total premiums paid under these contracts for the plan year ending June 30, 2015 to John Hancock Life Insurance Co. were $1,271,623 and to Genworth Life Insurance Co. were $861,613.

Your Rights to Additional Information

You have the right to receive a copy of the full annual report, or any part thereof, on request. Insurance information is included in this annual report.

The items listed below are included in that report:

1. financial information and information on payments to service providers; and

2. insurance information including sales commissions paid by insurance carriers.

To obtain a copy of the full annual report, or any part thereof, write or call the office of the Plan Administrator, c/o Joanne M. Blythe, retirement manager, University of Pennsylvania, 3401 Walnut Street, Suite 527A, Philadelphia, PA 19104-6228, (215) 898-9947. The charge to cover copying costs will be $5 for the full annual report or 25 cents per page for any part thereof.

You also have the legally protected right under ERISA to examine the annual report in the offices of the Employer at the address for the Plan Administrator, above, and at the US Department of Labor in Washington, DC, or to obtain a copy from the US Department of Labor upon payment of copying costs. Requests to the Department should be addressed to: Public Disclosure Room, Room N-1513, Employee Benefits Security Administration, US Department of Labor, 200 Constitution Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20210.

—Division of Human Resources

Governance

Nominations for Offices Requested

  • February 9, 2016
  • vol 62 issue 22
  • Governance
  • print

Under the Faculty Senate Rules, formal notification to members may be accomplished by

publication in Almanac. The following is published under that rule:

To: Members of the Standing Faculty

From: Reed Pyeritz, Chair

Nominations for Offices Requested

In accordance with the Rules of the Faculty Senate you are invited to suggest candidates for the posts and terms stated below, with supporting letters if desired. Candidates’ names should be submitted promptly to Harvey Rubin, chair of the Senate Nominating Committee, by telephone at (215) 746-4234, or by email to rubinh@upenn.edu

The following posts are to be filled for 2016-2017:

• Chair-elect:

    (Incumbent: Laura Perna)

• Secretary-elect:

    (Incumbent: Marcella Devoto)

• Four At-Large Members of the Senate Executive Committee (3-year term)

    (Incumbents: Delphine Dahan, Angela Mills, Philip Rea, Florian Schwarz)

• Two Members of the Senate Committee on Academic Freedom and Responsibility (3-year term)

    (Incumbents: Peter Dodson, Nader Engheta)

• One Member of the Senate Committee on the Economic Status of the Faculty (3-year term)

    (Incumbent: Jerry Jacobs)

Nominating Committee Elected

The Senate Executive Committee’s slate of nominees for the Senate Nominating Committee was circulated to the Senate Membership on November 24, 2015. No additional nominations by petition have been received within the prescribed time. Therefore, according to the Senate Rules, the Executive Committee’s slate is declared elected.

Those elected are:

• Norman Badler (Rachleff Family Professor, department of computer & information science, School of Engineering & Applied Science)

• Peter Fader (Frances and Pei-Yuan Chia Professor and professor of marketing, Wharton School)

• Claire Finkelstein (Algernon Biddle Professor of Law and professor of philosophy, Law  School)

• Scott Francis (assistant professor of Romance languages, School of Arts & Sciences)

• Blanca Himes (assistant professor of epidemiology in biostatistics & epidemiology, Perelman School of Medicine)

• Guido Menzio (associate professor, department of economics, School of Arts & Sciences)

• Maja Bucan (professor of genetics, Perelman School of Medicine)

• Rosemary Polomano (professor of pain practice, School of Nursing)

• Harvey Rubin (professor of medicine, Perelman School of Medicine)

University Council Meeting Agenda Wednesday, February 17, 4 p.m. Bodek Lounge, Houston Hall

  • February 9, 2016
  • vol 62 issue 22
  • Governance
  • print

I. Approval of the minutes of the meeting of January 27, 2016. (1 minute)

II. Follow up questions on Status Reports.

(5 minutes)

III. Cross-disciplinary and cross-school programs involving staff, students and faculty.
(40 minutes)   

IV. Open Forum. (70 minutes)   

V. New Business. (5 Minutes)

VI. Adjournment.

University Club Grand Reopening

  • February 9, 2016
  • vol 62 issue 22
  • Governance
  • print

The University Club has reopened. Members will find the same familiar faces they remember from prior to the renovations. The look and feel is fresher and brighter.

Benjamin Wiggins, president of the University Club Board of Governors, said, “We are excited to share with you some details about these improvements. Not only will you see physical changes, from lovely white tile to dark wood cabinets in the buffet area, and the new artwork in the Hourglass Room, but Executive Chef Eileen Watkins has taken this opportunity to make some changes to the weekly menus.”

The University Club Team is excited to share this elevated experience with chef-curated meals that fall within a theme. The new service style includes a chef-manned action station, featuring made-to-order entrees or specialty sandwiches. The new lunch menu includes daily specials including soup, an action station, a self-serve station and dessert. Members and guests will also still see the fully stocked salad bar and hot and cold beverages.

“Our goal in working with Chef Eileen on the new menus was to add more artisan ingredients without increasing costs, but that is not always possible.  In an effort to keep the University Club as a premier on-campus dining establishment, the Board of Governors did have to make the decision to increase the lunch price to a flat fee of $12.95.  We feel that even with this increase, the University Club is still one of the best values on campus,” Dr. Wiggins added. 

“We hope that you will join us in celebrating the reopening of the University Club in the coming weeks.  In addition to joining us for lunch, we’d also like to invite members to our Kick Off Party on Thursday, February 18 from 4:30 to 7:30 p.m., said Kristin Cummings, the Club’s coordinating liaison. 

Honors

2015 AAAS Fellows

  • February 9, 2016
  • vol 62 issue 22
  • Honors
  • print

Four Penn faculty members have been named Fellows of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). They are among a class of 347 researchers who have been awarded this honor because of their scientifically or socially distinguished efforts to advance science or its applications.

New Fellows will be presented with an official certificate and a gold and blue rosette pin this month during the 2016 AAAS Annual Meeting in Washington, DC.

The new Penn AAAS Fellows are:

Ted Abel, the Brush Family Professor of Biology in Penn Arts & Sciences: for distinguished contributions to the field of neuroscience, particularly for studies of the molecular mechanisms of memory storage and the biological basis of behavior.

Dennis E. Discher, the Robert D. Bent Professor of Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering in Penn Engineering: for outstanding contributions to the understanding of the effects of matrix and cytoskeletal physical properties and forces on cell physiology and stem cell development.

A.T. Charlie Johnson, director of Penn’s Nano/Bio Interface Center and professor in the department of physics & astronomy in Penn Arts & Sciences: for distinguished contributions to condensed matter physics, especially for studies of transport in one- and two-dimensional materials, and applications of nano-bio hybrids for chemical detection.

Mark Trodden, department chair and Fay R. and Eugene L. Langberg Professor of Physics: for distinguished contributions to particle cosmology, particularly for theoretical approaches to cosmic acceleration and the baryon asymmetry of the universe, and their dissemination beyond academia.

Gustavo Aguirre: Louis Braille Award for Blindness Research

  • February 9, 2016
  • vol 62 issue 22
  • Honors
  • print

caption:The Associated Services for the Blind and Visually Impaired recognized Gustavo D. Aguirre, professor of medical genetics and ophthalmology at Penn’s School of Veterinary Medicine, with the 2016 Louis Braille Award for innovative research and treatment of inherited blinding diseases.

The award was presented in January at the 56th Annual Louis Braille Awards Ceremony in Philadelphia.

Dr. Aguirre has investigated the genetic basis of a variety of inherited vision disorders, including Leber’s congenital amaurosis, Best disease, achromatopsia and retinitis pigmentosa. His work on novel gene therapy approaches to treatment, which deliver to the eye a functional copy of a gene that is otherwise lacking, has restored vision in animal models of X-linked retinitis pigmentosa and Leber’s congenital amaurosis. The Leber congenital amaurosis therapy is now in human clinical trials.

Dr. Aguirre earned his VMD in 1968 and his PhD in 1975, both from Penn.

Cynthia A. Connolly: NEH Fellowship

  • February 9, 2016
  • vol 62 issue 22
  • Honors
  • print

caption:Cynthia A. Connolly, associate professor of nursing in the department of family & community health at the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing, received a fellowship from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH). The fellowship, one of the most prestigious in the humanities, will be used to complete her forthcoming book, Children, Drug Therapy, and Pharmaceuticals in the United States, 1906-1979.

Dr. Connolly’s book, which traces the development, use and marketing of pharmaceutical products for children, will be the first history of children and drugs. Even though almost every 20th-century law governing drug safety was enacted in response to a pediatric drug disaster, drug safety only improved for adults, not for children.

Dr. Connolly holds a secondary appointment in SAS’s history & sociology of science department and is also a Fellow at the Barbara Bates Center for the Study of the History of Nursing, the Leonard Davis Institute of Health Economics and the Alice Paul Center for Research on Women, Gender and Sexuality.

Nader Engheta: NAI Fellow

  • February 9, 2016
  • vol 62 issue 22
  • Honors
  • print

Nader Engheta, the H. Nedwill Ramsey Professor in the department of electrical & systems engineering at Penn, has been named a National Academy of Inventors (NAI) Fellow. He will be presented with the honor at the NAI 2016 Annual Conference in Washington, DC in April.

Dr. Engheta’s research interests span the fields of nano-optics and nanophotonics, metamaterials and plasmonics, and optical nanostructures, including nanoantennas, nanocircuits and nanosystems. He and his group have been developing the concept of optical lumped nanocircuits based on material nanostructures, with the goal of “modularizing” nanophotonics and providing the possibility of information processing with light at the nanoscale, and also the extreme platforms for unprecedented tailoring and manipulating light-matter interaction.

Fall Academic All-Ivy Athletes

  • February 9, 2016
  • vol 62 issue 22
  • Honors
  • print

In December, the Ivy League announced its Academic All-Ivy selections for the fall 2015 season. Each season, ten student-athletes from each Ancient Eight school—five men and five women—are named Academic All-Ivy. In order to be eligible, student-athletes must be in their second year or beyond at Penn and hold a cumulative GPA of 3.00 or higher.

Penn’s Academic All-Ivy athletes for fall 2015 are:

Thomas Awad, C’16; health & societies
major; men’s cross country

Alexis Genske; C’16; philosophy, politics & economics (PPE) major; volleyball

Elizabeth Hitti; SEAS’16; mechanical engineering & applied mechanics major; field hockey

Alexa Hoover; C’18; undeclared major; field hockey

Paige Lombard; C’16; anthropology major; women’s soccer

Mike McCurdy; C’17; biological basis of
behavior (BBB) major; football

Ashley Montgomery, W’17; management concentration; women’s cross country

Alec Neumann; C’16; philosophy, politics & economics (PPE) major; men’s soccer

Tanner Thexton, W’16; statistics concentration; football

Justin Watson; W’18; undeclared concentration; football

Eli J. Lesser: Fulbright-Nehru International Education Administrator Seminar

  • February 9, 2016
  • vol 62 issue 22
  • Honors
  • print

caption:Eli J. Lesser, senior director, Penn Summer and Non-Degree Programs in the College of Liberal and Professional Studies, has been selected for the 2016 Fulbright-Nehru International Education Administrator Seminar.

The seminar will take place in India next month. Mr. Lesser will join ten peer administrators from other US institutions to study and engage higher education institutions in India.

Fermento: 2016 Y Prize Winners

  • February 9, 2016
  • vol 62 issue 22
  • Honors
  • print

caption:Siddharth Shah, Shashwata Narain and Alexander DavidThe annual Y Prize—co-sponsored by Penn Engineering, Wharton’s Mack Institute, Wharton Entrepreneurship and the Penn Center for Innovation—awarded top honors to the Wharton and Penn Engineering student founders of Fermento, a system to speed up the fermentation process in beer production by up to nine times while maintaining alcohol quality and composition at an industrial scale, leading to substantial cost reductions. The Fermento team, consisting of Siddharth Shah, Shashwata Narain and Alexander David, selected microfluidic fabrication technology developed by David Issadore’s lab as the basis for a technological solution to this problem.

The Y Prize gives students the chance to show how Penn technology can be used in creating a compelling and viable product. Fermento won $10,000 and the right to commercialize their application of Penn-owned biomedical engineering technology. The prize was awarded at the fourth annual Y-Prize Grand Finale in January.

Denis Mukwege: 2016 Penn Nursing Renfield Foundation Award

  • February 9, 2016
  • vol 62 issue 22
  • Honors
  • print

caption:Denis Mukwege, a humanitarian and advocate for women’s rights, will receive the 2016 Penn Nursing Renfield Foundation Award for Global Women’s Health for his work in treating and highlighting the plight of women in the war-torn eastern part of the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

The award, which comes with a $100,000 cash prize, was established in 2012 by the Beatrice Renfield Foundation and is presented biennially to a leader, or leaders, in the field of global women’s health. Dr. Mukwege will receive the honor during an event at Penn on March 24, 2016.

Dr. Mukwege is an obstetrician and gynecologist who lives and works in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. In 1999, he established the Panzi Hospital in Bukavu, which has become known worldwide for the treatment of survivors of sexual violence and women with severe gynecological problems. He and his staff have performed reconstructive gynecological surgery on more than 21,000 women injured as a consequence of war, including those subjected to rape. He also established a nurses’ training program, the Institut des Techniques Medicales de Panzi, to provide education and clinical training to about 50 nurses per year.

Penn Alexander School: High SPR Achievement

  • February 9, 2016
  • vol 62 issue 22
  • Honors
  • print

Penn Alexander School, one of 19 schools recognized by the School District of Philadelphia for high achievement on the 2014-2015 School Progress Report (SPR), is the City Leader for K-8 schools. Penn Alexander School attained the highest performance ratings in the District in the categories of Achievement, Climate and Growth.

Now in its third year, the SPR evaluates schools in multiple areas, including student achievement, student growth, school climate, and for high schools, college- and career-readiness. Unlike the state’s School Performance Profiles, the SPR places greater emphasis on overall progress rather than standardized test performance alone.

Three Penn Engineering Students: Forbes ‘30 Under 30’

  • February 9, 2016
  • vol 62 issue 22
  • Honors
  • print

Three students at Penn’s School of Engineering & Applied Science are among the Forbes 2016 ‘30 Under 30’ honorees. Since 2012, the list has spotlighted “entrepreneurial-minded bright young stars who are transforming the world.” The 2016 class includes 600 of the greatest young entrepreneurs, breakout talents and change agents in 20 different industries.

caption: caption:Spencer Penn, a mechanical engineering & applied mechanics major, and Morgan Snyder, a digital media design major, were selected as co-honorees in recognition of their company, Sweet Bites. The aim of Sweet Bites is to solve the global issue of oral disease and its complications in challenged urban areas via xylitol-enhanced chewing gum. By employing local women to distribute the gum packaged with medical information, they hope to enable female entrepreneurship, close the information gap around healthcare access and improve the lives of millions suffering from preventable dental health problems.

 

caption:Yash Mulgaonkar, a PhD student in the department of mechanical engineering & applied mechanics, was selected for his achievements in developing the world’s smallest autonomous drone. He is focusing on how to make drones and other robots accessible to the general public by developing rapid fabrication methods. Additionally, he is researching training methods for robots so that they can better work together to complete tasks.

Monroe Price: International Communication Association’s C. Edwin Baker Award

  • February 9, 2016
  • vol 62 issue 22
  • Honors
  • print

caption:Monroe E. Price, director of the Center for Global Communication Studies at Penn’s Annenberg School for Communication, is the 2016 recipient of the C. Edwin Baker Award for the Advancement of Scholarship on Media, Markets and Democracy. The award, given annually by the Philosophy of Communication and Communication Law and Policy Divisions of the International Communication Association, will be presented in June at the International Communication Association Annual Conference in Fukuoka, Japan.

Dr. Price’s award recognizes his book, Free Expression, Globalism and the New Strategic Communication (Cambridge University Press, 2014). Building upon themes pioneered by C. Edwin Baker in his masterworks, Dr. Price questions how intense strategic flows of information mesh with contemporary theories of press freedom.

The award also recognizes Dr. Price’s extensive work developing nodes of global communications study and practice. In addition to establishing the Center for Global Communication Studies and serving as a full adjunct professor at Annenberg School for Communication, he founded Oxford University’s Programme in Comparative Media Law & Policy and the Center for Data & Media Studies at Central European University.

Megan Ryerson: WTS Philadelphia 2015 Woman of the Year

  • February 9, 2016
  • vol 62 issue 22
  • Honors
  • print

caption:Megan Ryerson, assistant professor of city & regional planning in PennDesign, who also holds an appointment in electrical & systems engineering (transportation) at Penn Engineering, is the 2015 recipient of the Women’s Transportation Seminar (WTS)­—Philadelphia Chapter Woman of the Year Award. The WTS is an organization committed to the advancement of women within the transportation industry.

Dr. Ryerson’s dedication to mentorship—actively recruiting women to pursue careers in aviation engineering and helping them to overcome any barriers to success—played a crucial factor in the WTS’s decision. Her current research areas include airports and airport planning; aviation network resilience in the aftermath of a climate event, using mathematical algorithms in re-routing planes; municipal subsidies for airlines; and theoretical and actual links between economical development and airport capacity.

She leads a research group of doctoral and master’s students, along with an undergraduate student, investigating air traffic in Philadelphia.

Deborah Thomas: Editor-in-Chief, American Anthropologist

  • February 9, 2016
  • vol 62 issue 22
  • Honors
  • print

caption:Deborah Thomas, a professor of anthropology and Africana studies in the University of Pennsylvania School of Arts & Sciences, has been named editor-in-chief of the American Anthropological Association’s (AAA) flagship journal, American Anthropologist, effective July 1. The position will run through June 30, 2020.

Dr. Thomas also holds appointments in Penn’s Graduate School of Education and School of Social Policy & Practice. She is a core faculty member of the Alice Paul Center for Research on Women, Gender and Sexuality.

Her vision for the quarterly journal, which reaches the nearly 10,000 AAA members and tens of thousands of researchers, also includes the development of an online presence that will cultivate broad awareness of the work done by the association’s scholars. This spans the main fields of anthropology: cultural anthropology, biological/physical anthropology, archaeology and linguistic anthropology.

Dr. Thomas has served as a member of the American Anthropologist editorial board and as co-editor of one of its sections, “Visual Anthropology.” From 2007 until 2010, she edited the AAA’s journal, Transforming Anthropology.

Events

Update: February at Penn

  • February 9, 2016
  • vol 62 issue 22
  • Events
  • print

Special Event

12    The Black History Month Community Showcase: #BlackLivesMatter; Jasmine Mans, Laurin Talese, The Clutch Collective, Babel Poetry Collective, The Hood Lockers, The Excelano Project, Melanie R. Hill, I Am Phresh Crew, Drexel African Dance, Margel theSophant, Lenora Magee Howard, Just Sole, DJ Op and more; doors: 6:30 p.m., show: 7 p.m.; Harrison Auditorium, Penn Museum; suggested donation to benefit local organization doing social justice work that positively impacts the lives of people of color; register: http://tinyurl.com/z5hopxs (BGWA; GSE).

Talk

10    Penn Tobacco Center on Regulatory Science Seminar: Understanding the Cigar Market and Its Implications for Tobacco Regulatory Science; Cristine Delnevo, Rutgers University; noon; rm. 500, Annenberg School (Penn Tobacco Center of Regulatory Science; Annenberg School).

Morris Arboretum Hosts Wedding Open House: February 24

  • February 9, 2016
  • vol 62 issue 22
  • Events
  • print

Congratulations on your recent engagement!  Now it’s time to make your dream day a reality. First step: attend Morris Arboretum’s Wedding Open House on Wednesday, February 24, from 5-8 p.m. 

Meet and talk with photographers, floral designers, sound & lighting experts and other talented wedding vendors to help you create your day with your own personal aesthetic. Enjoy tastings from the Arboretum’s approved caterers, try your luck to win wedding prize giveaways and learn more about holding your nuptials in Morris Arboretum’s lush 92-acre garden. Book your wedding at this event and the Arboretum will include Out On a Limb, a unique treetop party space, free for your cocktail hour. As Nicole on WeddingWire reported, “I recently had my wedding at Morris Arboretum, and we loved it so much … my cocktail hour was in an adult treehouse…”

Guests must register to attend; space is limited. Please email with number attending: rentals@morrisarboretum.org or call (215) 247-5777, ext. 158. Free with RSVP.  Morris Arboretum is located at 100 East Northwestern Avenue, Philadelphia, PA 19118.

A bride and groom sharing a romantic moment in Morris Arboretum's Rose Garden after exchanging their vows there in Chesnut Hill.

Some of the Many Sounds of Music to Warm the Soul at Penn in February: Jazz, Blues and Flutes—at the Penn Museum and the Annenberg Center

  • February 9, 2016
  • vol 62 issue 22
  • Events
  • print

Cyrille Aimée: This French-born jazz singer brings a fresh, creative vocal approach to the jazz tradition while exploring intoxicating new directions. Enjoy her rhythmic music at Annenberg’s Harold Prince Theatre on February 19 at 8 p.m. Tickets available at www.annenbergcenter.org

 

Daddy Mack Blues Band: Enjoy the funky music that originated in Memphis, Tennessee as this authentic urban blues band performs their soulful mix of both original and classic tunes. Together since the 1970s, this five-member group is sure to please. Watch them perform on February 20 at 8 p.m. at the Annenberg Center’s Harold Prince Theatre. Tickets can be purchased at www.annenbergcenter.org

 

 

 

Penn Flutes, Romance in the Air: Enjoy a special lunchtime Valentine’s-themed concert in the Penn Museum’s galleries, performed by Penn’s all-flute ensemble. The show is free for PennCard holders and with Museum admission. It is sure to kick off your Valentine’s Day on a high note. See them perform on February 12 at noon.

Ancient Treasures from the Republic of Turkey: 
The Golden Age of King Midas, Exclusive World Premiere Exhibition,
 Opening February 13 at the Penn Museum

  • February 9, 2016
  • vol 62 issue 22
  • Events
  • print

caption:What was behind the legendary story of King Midas and his golden touch?

That is the question to be answered—not with chests full of gold, but with a spectacular array of 150 objects, including more than 120 specially loaned ancient artifacts from four museums in the Republic of Turkey, keys to telling the true story of a very real and powerful ruler of the Phrygian kingdom. The Golden Age of King Midas is an exclusive, world premiere exhibition developed by the Penn Museum, in partnership with the Republic of Turkey. A special Opening Celebration on Saturday, February 13 will kick off the exhibition, which runs through November 27.

King Midas lived in the prosperous city of Gordion, a site in what is now central Turkey, circa 750-700 BCE, ruling Phrygia and influencing the neighboring kingdoms. He likely reigned during the time in which Homer’s Iliad was first written down. It was indeed a golden age.

An East-West Cutting of the Gordian Knot

The exhibition opens with fanfare at 11 a.m., as representatives of the Republic of Turkey join Penn Museum Director Julian Siggers, exhibition curator Brian Rose and exhibition team members for a symbolic cutting of the “Gordian Knot,” the official opening of the new show.

One of history’s the most important accounts involves Alexander the Great’s 333 BCE visit to Gordion, where he purportedly cut the “Gordian Knot.”

A special experience awaits guests at the opening weekend only: Penn Museum’s third floor Pepper Hall will be transformed into a Kervansaray-inspired oasis reminiscent of the Turkish Kervansaray, or roadside inns, that offered travelers a place to recover from a day’s journey and supported the flow of commerce, information and people across the Silk Road. Visitors to the Museum will be able to travel back in time to the Ottoman Empire as they wander through, and rest among, ikats and other textiles from the Silk Road, hand-knotted carpets from Turkey, hand-crafted copper pots and metal trays, tiles and plates, ottomans covered with Turkish kilims, hand-knotted saddle and camel bags from the region and traditional tent decorations. This special experience is made possible courtesy of Material Culture, a Philadelphia purveyor of antiques and collectibles from around the world. 

Archaeologists from the Penn Museum (the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology) have been excavating at Gordion—and making international headlines with their discoveries—since 1950. The crossroads of many cultures over time, Gordion offers insight into thousands of years of history, but it is best known as the political and cultural capital of the Phrygians, a people who dominated much of what is now Turkey, nearly 3,000 years ago. With its monumental architecture and a series of wealthy tombs belonging to Phrygian royalty and elites, Gordion has supplied the most important archaeological evidence for the unique material achievements of the once great Phrygian civilization.

From Myth to Man

Nearly 3,000 years after his death, we know King Midas by unforgettable stories told by ancient Greeks long after he was dead, stories like King Midas and the Golden Touch and King Midas and the Donkey Ears. An interactive “myth book” will invite guests to explore the stories, while artifacts and excavation discoveries detailed throughout the exhibition begin to reveal the man behind the myths. The most extensive record of Midas’ activities comes from the annual records of the Assyrian kings, who referred to him as Mita, ruler of Mushku (Phrygia), on a clay tablet, ca. 713 BCE, on loan from the Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago for the exhibition.

A detailed timeline will draw guests into the exhibition and back in time. It is at Gordion where the story of Midas’ actual life and times truly emerges. One object from Greece takes center stage: an ivory lion tamer figurine on loan from the Delphi Archaeological Museum; it probably formed part of a throne dedicated by Midas to Apollo in the late 8th century BCE.

A Unique Opportunity

In 1957, the Penn Museum excavated a spectacular tomb, referred to as Tumulus MM, for Midas Mound. This was the largest of about 120 man-made mounds of earth, clay and stone used to mark important burials at Gordion. Dated to ca. 740 BCE, it is believed to be the final resting place of King Midas’ father Gordios—a son’s spectacular tribute. The archaeologists entered the tomb, the oldest standing wooden building in the world, and beheld an extraordinary sight: the skeleton of a king in what was left of a cedar coffin, surrounded by the bronze bowls, serving vessels, wooden tables and food remains from an extensive funeral banquet. The details of the banquet we now know thanks to the analysis of the sediment at the bottom of the vessels: a hearty lamb and lentil stew, and ample quantities of a drink containing wine, beer and honey mead.

The discovery of an intact royal tomb nearly 3,000 years old is highly unusual, as is the excellent state of preservation of the associated artifacts.

Guests at The Golden Age of King Midas will meet a life-sized photograph of archaeologist Rodney Young at the entrance of a space designed to resemble the wooden tomb and featuring many of the very objects the excavators first encountered. Inside this space, a video experience lets visitors explore the tomb as if they were in the tomb itself when it was sealed nearly 3,000 years ago. Now housed in Turkish Museums in Ankara, Istanbul, Antalya and Gordion, most of these extraordinary artifacts have never before traveled to the United States. Site videos, including scenes taken during the world-famous excavation in 1957, bring guests into the moment of discovery.

There are no known visual records of what King Midas looked like, but if he resembled his father, there is some intriguing evidence. In 1988, the Penn Museum worked with John Prag and Richard Neave of the University of Manchester to develop a reconstructed plaster head of Gordios based on his skeletal remains; a plaster cast will be on display in the exhibition. With it is a selection from an assortment of 189 large bronze fibulae, used for pinning garments, that were found in King Midas’ father’s tomb and in others; they may have been used as calling cards at the elaborate funerals.

Objects from five smaller tombs excavated at Gordion—including a child’s tomb that contained an elegant and distinctive goat-shaped jug—provide more information about the site and the people who lived and died there. While no gold was found in the largest tomb, jewelry from a later tomb, ca. 530 BCE, is featured, including a distinctive gold acorn necklace.

Midas on the World Stage

Gordion is immense, about 2.5 miles wide. Penn Museum continues excavations and conservation projects on and around the citadel, a high fortress at the heart of Phrygia’s capital city, where hundreds of people lived and worked. A 3-D model of the citadel, enlivened by light and sound projections, offers guests a bird’s eye view. In the 1950s, archaeologists uncovered the oldest colored pebble mosaic floor known in the world in a large citadel building. Dated to the late 9th century BCE, it measures 35 by 31 feet; a recently conserved section of that floor, roughly five feet long, will be on display in the exhibition.

The story of King Midas is the story of influence and power on an international stage with neighboring kingdoms on all sides. Here, the Penn Museum’s own collections shine: visitors will be introduced to the spectacular gold work of the nomadic Scythians and the Lydians; distinctive metalwork of the Urartian Empire; monumental stone and ivory reliefs of the Assyrians; and stone sculpture of powerful Persia, which conquered Gordion in the 6th century BCE. An animated map provides a flyover of the region during and just after Midas’ time.

Gordion After Midas

While the Phrygian period at Gordion is the most renowned, this strategically situated site contains thousands of years of history, and the exhibition sheds light on what happened in Gordion in the centuries after King Midas ruled.

Guests will see fragments—and remarkable watercolor recreations by renowned archaeological illustrator Piet De Jong—of the famous “Painted House” built about 500 BCE, and excavated in Gordion’s citadel during the 1950s. The Painted House murals provide a rare glimpse into the religious rituals of the citadel’s residents, and the lives of its women, 200 years after the death of King Midas.

The Exhibition Team

Dr. Rose, the Penn Museum’s Gordion Archaeological Project director, who worked with Turkish colleagues to select the loaned artifacts, will give a lecture at 11:30 a.m. during the Opening. Kate Quinn, exhibition and public programs director, led the exhibition team that included in-house interpretive planner Jessica Bicknell and a team of in-house designers, as well as outside collaborators including Night Kitchen Interactive and Wish Design, Painting and Sculpture.

The Golden Age of King Midas is made possible with support from the 1984 Foundation; the Selz Foundation; Frederick J. Manning, W’69, and the Manning Family; the Susan Drossman Sokoloff and Adam D. Sokoloff Exhibitions Fund; the Turkish Cultural Foundation; and Joan Bachman in honor of Mary Bert Gutman.

Ticket Prices and Special Programs

Admission to the special exhibition The Golden Age of King Midas (includes general admission) is $20/adults; $18/senior citizens (65 and above); $15/children and full-time students with ID; $5/active military.

Admission is free for Penn Museum members, PennCard holders and children five and younger. For more information about membership, including exclusive membership Midas programs, call (215) 898-5093.

The Penn Museum has developed a range of special events, from scholarly symposia to children’s and family programs, for the exhibition. 

Crimes

Weekly Crime Reports

  • February 9, 2016
  • vol 62 issue 22
  • Crimes
  • print

The University of Pennsylvania Police Department Community Crime Report

Below are the Crimes Against Persons, Crimes Against Society and Crimes Against Property from the campus report for January 25-31, 2016View prior weeks' reports. —Ed.

This summary is prepared by the Division of Public Safety and includes all criminal incidents reported and made known to the University Police Department between the dates of January 25-31, 2016. The University Police actively patrol from Market St to Baltimore and from the Schuylkill River to 43rd St in conjunction with the Philadelphia Police. In this effort to provide you with a thorough and accurate report on public safety concerns, we hope that your increased awareness will lessen the opportunity for crime. For any concerns or suggestions regarding this report, please call the Division of Public Safety at (215) 898-4482.

01/26/2016 10:16 AM       3400 Spruce St         Theft                          Phone taken.

01/26/2016 1:02 PM         3400 Spruce St         Fraud                         Male attempted to fill bad prescription

01/26/2016 3:19 PM         3400 Spruce St         Fraud                         Male attempted to fill bad prescription/Arrest

01/26/2016 10:52 PM       4033 Spruce St         Liquor Law                Citation issued for underage drinking

01/27/2016 10:50 AM       3000 South St           Vandalism                  Vehicle exterior scratched

01/27/2016 6:52 PM         3744 Spruce St         Theft                          Cigarettes taken without payment

01/27/2016 10:11 PM       3421 Chestnut St      Other Offense            Female wanted on warrant/Arrest

01/28/2016 3:45 PM         3800 Chestnut St      Assault                       Complainant punched by known offender

01/28/2016 4:35 PM         3401 Walnut St         Theft                           Unsecured purse taken

01/28/2016 7:29 PM         110 S 36th St            Theft                          Merchandise taken without payment

01/28/2016 10:03 PM       3945 Chestnut St      Fraud                         Counterfeit currency used to pay for services

01/30/2016 12:56 AM       100 S 39th St            Vandalism                  Male defaced property/Arrest

01/30/2016 2:06 PM         4018 Market St         Robbery                     Complainant robbed by male with gun

01/30/2016 7:03 PM         3925 Walnut St         Theft                          Merchandise taken without payment/Arrest

01/30/2016 9:25 PM         4006 Chestnut St      Theft                          Unsecured wallet taken

01/31/2016 2:41 AM         3600 Spruce St         Sex Offense               Confidential

01/31/2016 6:01 PM         4000 Spruce St         Fraud                         Male cited for not paying for services rendered.

01/31/2016 9:21 PM         3205 Walnut St         Vandalism                  Unknown person(s) graffiti stairwell

18th District

Below are the Crimes Against Persons from the 18th District: 8 incidents with 3 arrests (5 robberies, 2 assaults, 1 rape) were reported between January 25-31, 2016 by the 18th District covering the Schuylkill River to 49th Street & Market Street to Woodland Avenue.

01/25/2016 8:58 AM         4000 Baltimore Ave             Robbery/Arrest

01/25/2016 9:32 AM         3800 Woodland Walk          Robbery/Arrest

01/28/2016 7:28 PM         1100 S 45th St                     Robbery

01/28/2016 7:51 PM         200 S 46th St                        Assault

01/29/2016 10:25 AM       47th and Locust Sts             Assault

01/30/2016 2:07 PM         4018 Market St                     Robbery

01/31/2016 4:49 AM         3700 Block Spruce St           Rape

01/31/2016 1:55 PM         4700 Sansom St                    Robbery/Arrest

Bulletins

How to Read and Understand Your W-2

  • February 9, 2016
  • vol 62 issue 22
  • Bulletins
  • print

Everyone in the University community is invited to learn how to read your W-2 Wage and Tax Statement form and compare the information on the W-2 with the information on your final pay of the year. The Payroll Tax office will walk you through reconciling your year-end amounts from ‘My Pay’ to the taxable amounts on the W-2 form. Please note: This session is only to help you understand your W-2 form. We will not be able to provide tax assistance.

To register for a session on either February 22 or February 25 from 10 to 11:30 a.m., go to http://knowlegelink.upenn.edu and enter ‘W-2’ in the search box. 

— Financial Training Department

Ed. Note: See the February 2 issue of Almanac for a guide to the 2015 W-2 form.

Filing Taxes Online This Year?  Take Steps to Protect Your Information!

  • February 9, 2016
  • vol 62 issue 22
  • Bulletins
  • print

caption:United States taxpayers filed more than 128 million returns online in 2015. Electronic filing (“e-filing”) offers enormous convenience, but it’s important to remember that it can also create privacy and security risks. Cybercriminals can use stolen information—such as Social Security Numbers, addresses and dates of birth—to commit identity theft, including filing fraudulent tax returns to collect the refunds. Here are several steps you can take to help avoid the risks while taking advantage of the convenience of e-filing:

Use a strong unique password for e-filing that is different from that of any other online account to protect your personal information.

Remember that the IRS will never send you any electronic communication, including emails and text messages that ask for personal information. A major strategy for criminals during tax season is to contact individuals by email, pretending to be the Internal Revenue Service. People are tricked into clicking on links and downloading malicious software that steals personal information or into providing sensitive information like passwords or Social Security Numbers in answer to a question. Be wary of any such emails.

Get an Identity Protection PIN (IP PIN): An IP PIN is a six-digit number assigned to eligible taxpayers that helps prevent the misuse of your Social Security Number on fraudulent federal income tax returns. To learn more and determine if you qualify to enroll in this extra layer of protection visit https://www.irs.gov/Individuals/Get-An-Identity-Protection-PIN

If you believe you have been the victim of tax-related identity theft contact the IRS Identity Protection Specialized Unit at (800) 908-4490.

For more on how to protect your personal data visit www.upenn.edu/privacy and www.upenn.edu/computing/security/

TCPW Grants Available for Groups: February 12

  • February 9, 2016
  • vol 62 issue 22
  • Bulletins
  • print

The Trustees’ Council of Penn Women (TCPW) is pleased to announce its 2016-2017 Grants Program and encourages members of the University community to apply.

Grants ranging between $1,000-$5,000 will be available to individuals or organizations that promote:

•  women’s issues

•  the quality of undergraduate and graduate life for women

•  the advancement of women

•  the physical, emotional and psychological well-being of women

Favorable consideration will be given to projects that:

•    affect a broad segment of the University population

•     foster a greater awareness of women’s issues

•     provide seed money for pilot programs that have the potential to become ongoing self-supporting programs

To apply, visit the TCPW website at www.alumni.upenn.edu/tcpwgrants and download the application from the TCPW Grant web page. Applications must be submitted no later than February 12, 2016.

Awards will be announced in the spring of 2016 and funds will be distributed in July/August 2016 for projects in the 2016-2017 academic year.

Penn’s Power Down Challenge Campus-Wide Energy Reduction Challenge: February 24

  • February 9, 2016
  • vol 62 issue 22
  • Bulletins
  • print

When the clock strikes midnight on February 24, join the entire Penn community and participate in the campus-wide Energy Reduction Challenge. Students, staff and faculty are encouraged to reduce their energy usage over a 24-hour period, from midnight to 11:59 p.m. on Wednesday, February 24. Turn off your lights, unplug your appliances, turn down the heat and put on a sweater! Let’s see how much energy we can save as a campus community.

For tips on how to conserve energy and more information about the February 24 Challenge, see http://www.upenn.edu/sustainability/power-down-challenge/energy-reduction-challenge